);

4 Hacks To See The Language-Spin In Media

So, let’s learn from the following Advertisement:

media language advertising

America hasn’t been this divided since 1861. We have the mainstream media to thank for that. -1440.com

Wait, what? Am I thanking the mainstream media for dividing us or for keeping us united?

This is a language problem. Of course, we can get to their point (and it is innocent, at that), but commonly the legacy media is manipulating language to manipulate you. Language is cherry-picked, miss-framed, and clipped to control your understanding. Sometimes it’s’ just sloppy. This example is vague, which also makes it funny (especially since they pitching there own clarity as a selling point).

In this instance, it can be understood in two different ways:

1. The mainstream media has divided us more than we’ve been divided since 1861.

2. The mainstream media has kept us from being as divided as we are since 1861.

You might not see the second one, but it’s there. It could be taken that, because of the mainstream media, we have not been divided for 163 years! Thank you media!!! So, here are some basic guidelines in trying to understand anything that’s written. There are more, but this is a good start.

What is The Context? Here’s the key to avoid getting manipulated with words, videos, or pictures. Ask one question — “WHAT IS THE CONTEXT?” Honestly, that’s what it takes to understand anything. If you look at the letter S, you can’t tell anything. If you look at the letter S in the context of the word SAFE, you can’t tell much more. “You’re Safe!” still tell you almost nothing. Is it safe from harm? Nope. It’s the full context: “The umpire looked at Johnny as he slid into home for his first ever score in middle-school baseball, declaring to Johnny, ‘You’re safe’ (with a smile).”

What does it say? Just look at the words and see what it says without trying to figure anything else out. America is divided, but more now than ever.

What did the author mean? Since it is an advertisement, we can tell that they are aiming to put-down the mainstream media. Thinking about what ‘they’ are getting at helps our understanding dramatically. This is why the ‘intent of the framers’ is so important in understanding the U.S. Constitution.

How would a regular/reasonable person understand it? This is a standard in law, but it helps with interpreting what we read. Jesus used this when he pointed out that if your son asks for a fish, you don’t give him a snake (Matt 7:9-11).

While this is an example of unclear meaning that isn’t a big deal, it’s the kind of thing we should all look for all the time. The insidious ones are worse, but it still is a language-understanding game. Postmodernism is trying to dump normal language use, so there’s that…for a different post.

Don’t get spun!

Spin-Check: Quote Mining Prosobiec, Trump, Biden, etc.

Spin-Check: Quote Mining Prosobiec, Trump, Biden, etc.

Here’s one of the most common spins used by politicians and the media. Maybe it’s confirmation bias or maybe it’s cognitive dissonance, but it’s quite common in politics to clip and frame someone as saying something they clearly did not say (or mean) in context.

Quoting out of context (sometimes referred to as contextomy or quote mining) is an informal fallacy in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quoting_out_of_context

JACK PROSOBIEC is quoted as saying he want’s, “…to end democracy.” CNN aired the clip and condemned him, even to the point of SE Culp to want to ‘light her hair on fire’ because of how horrible it is that Prosobiec wants to ‘end democracy’ (see: https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2024/02/23/jack-posobiec-cpac-remarks-democracy-cnc-vpx.cnn ) . Of course, in context there is general laughter in the crowd because they understood that Prosobiec is satirizing his opponents and defining the opposition’s ‘democracy’ as akin to what North Korea might claim as democracy (see: https://rumble.com/v4fb8p0-jack-posobiec-what-you-call-democracy-is-the-same-thing-that-north-korea-ca.html ).

DONALD TRUMP is still accused of saying that neo-Nazis are ‘fine people’ (known and labeled as the ‘Fine People Hoax’). As recent as February 2024 one writer alludes to it as proof of Trump’s racism (see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/24/trump-black-voters-indicted-mug-shot/ ). However, the ‘Fine People On Both Sides’ hoax has been thoroughly debunked (see:
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/03/21/trump_didnt_call_neo-nazis_fine_people_heres_proof_139815.html ). The full transcript of the discussion shows that within seconds Trump clearly stated, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.” 

JOE BIDEN was also taken out of context as merely claiming, “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.” His opponents were quick to emphasize his words as meaning he didn’t condemn Antifa as a group/organization. However, he clearly condemned Antifa as a group (see: https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2712YI/ )

You can call it what you want, but Quote Mining (like Cherry-picking) is a good description. If you are a thinking person, you’ll instantly have a sense of ‘no way’ they said that. Chances are you’ll be right if you look to the context of the moment or the context of all the words surrounding the quote. Frankly, it looks like some people do this sort of thing accidentally because they are so motivated to think the ‘other side’ is pure evil. Yet, when it comes to the media, most likely they are lying and attempting to manipulate the public. They simply have too many sources and too many editors for someone along the way not to know the full story. Of course, they can later ‘retract’ what they said, but that’s inconsequential because the spin is out their in the wild.

Don’t get spun!

Arguing Both Sides: How To Humanize Politics

Arguing Both Sides: How To Humanize Politics

Arguing both sides of an issue transcends mere intellectual exercise; it cultivates empathy and fosters a deeper understanding and better communication.

In the world of politics and decision-making, it’s important to understand different viewpoints. When people only listen to ideas they already agree with, it creates problems. It’s like living in a bubble that stops us from seeing the whole picture. To make good choices, we need to hear all sides of an issue and think carefully before deciding.

Thinking about both sides of a topic helps us see things from different perspectives. It teaches us to be understanding and think critically. By considering opposing views, we learn more about why people think the way they do. This helps us see that things are not just right or wrong but have many layers.

Challenging our own beliefs is crucial for personal growth and society’s progress. It helps us avoid becoming too stuck in our ways. However, there’s a psychological barrier called “splitting” that makes it hard to see the middle ground. Splitting pushes people to see things as all good or all bad, leaving no room for discussion or understanding. Splitting causes deep divisions in society and weakens democracy. When people refuse to listen to different opinions, it leads to conflicts and makes it hard to find common ground. Overcoming splitting requires us to be humble, open-minded, and willing to learn from others. Education also plays a vital role in teaching us how to think critically and navigate through the vast amount of information available.

In summary, considering both sides of an argument is crucial in politics. It helps us grow, understand others better, and think more critically. Yet, challenges like splitting make this difficult by polarizing opinions. To address this, we need to embrace humility, openness, and education to truly uphold democracy and tackle the complexities of our world wisely.

CLICK HERE FOR AN EXAMPLE OF ‘BOTH SIDES’ CONCERNING FREE SPEECH

Spin-Check: Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax / Income Tax Spin

Spin-Check: Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax / Income Tax Spin

Unless you missed it, WEALTH is different than INCOME.

The goal here is not to wade into the debate about taxation, but to simply call attention to words and statistics. Even though Elizabeth Warren, President Biden, and others are promoting a wealth tax (clear enough), most Americans don’t seem to completely grasp the nuance.

Two BIG spins are in play below:

Words

Numbers

In both instances, a small tweak or reframe of the discussion can mislead one’s conclusions (oh so subtly).

Here are Sen. Warren’s words:

Let’s be clear where we stand on taxes. The 99% in America last year paid about 7.2% of their total wealth in taxes. That top one tenth of one percent where Elon Musk lives, they paid about 3.2%. That’s less than half as much. If Elon Musk were paying at the same rate as the rest of Americans on their wealth, then Elon Musk and his kind could be funding a huge part of what we need in America.” Sen. Warren: Elon Musk is riding on the backs of hard-working families (cnn.com)

It is important to notice that the word ‘wealth’ is distinct from the word ‘income’. Wealth is your totality of net assets (what you own less what you owe), while income in the money you’ve brought in during a year. A wealth tax taxes all you’ve got, while income tax taxes what you’ve added. 

The spin here is based on the way the public has understood taxation for generations. When Sen. Warren says that the 1% are paying almost ½ of what the 99% is paying, she is attempting to spin our understanding of income tax into an outrage. It’s not that she’s necessarily wrong (but it would be nice to see her math), it’s that she is talking like the wealthy are cheating the tax code by not paying their taxes.

So, if the sentence is changed to ‘income’, then it would read like this: “Let’s be clear where we stand on taxes. The 99% in America last year paid about 7.2% of their total income in taxes.” Of course, that would be patently false as the following displays.

In 1 Chart, How Much the Rich Pay in Taxes | The Heritage Foundation

In actual income taxes paid, the heaviest contribution is made by the wealthiest income earners. In the math of taxes paid compared to income, the lower 50% only pays 3% of all taxes; which means the top 1% is paying of 700% more then the poorest families and a significantly greater percentage than any other group (assuming the math is correct).

There’s more to the spin, but the key lesson is to realize that numbers can often be twisted to say what you want, and even more readily when the words are switch to play against the common understanding. 

A wealth tax is different than an income tax, and in principle simply asks us to consider how much we want the federal government to slow our own accumulation of wealth and redistribute it in the a variety of causes (Warren is concerned with multiple universal solutions like universal healthcare, education, etc. 

Now you know. Probably smart to keep the following quotes in mind:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” 

-Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass

There are three kinds of falsehoods, lies, damned lies and statistics.

-Arthur James Balfour

Spin Check: Vaccine Passports

Spin-Check: Claims About Vaccine Passports (Joe Biden, Chip Roy, & CNN)

SPIN: Urban Dictionary: To present an incident in a particularly slanted or biased manner.

CNN has fact-checked Chip Roy’s claim that “President Biden and his administration and Democrats are trying to institute a vaccine passport.” The fact-check concludes, 

CNN Vaccine Passport Facts First: This is misleading and needs context. Only New York City has announced a vaccine passport requirement and the White House has said repeatedly there won’t be a federally mandated vaccine passport. 

CNN Spin Summary: Chip Roy makes a claim that (1) Biden, (2) his administration, and (3) Democrats are trying to institute a vaccine passport. CNN makes a claim that this is false because the White House says it won’t happen and CNN can find no evidence.

1. The spin here is that a claim (Chip Roy) is defeated by another claim (The White House). Claims don’t prove other claims wrong. Why does the White House’s denial of something serve as ‘proof’ that those who disagree are wrong? Claims don’t conquer claims, they are ‘she-said / he-said’ situations. We could as easily say, “The White House says repeatedly that there won’t be a federally mandated vaccine passport, but Congressman Roy insists that the White House is working with Democrats to make it happen, therefore the White House is misleading.”

2. The spin here is that while Roy mentioned a vaccine passport, CNN changed the term to ‘federally mandated’ passport. The states and local governments could individually require a passport, which seems to be realized by CNN, since it notes New Your City has one. 

3. The spin here is that Congressman Roy mentioned that Democrats and Biden are trying to institute a vaccine passport as a setup for a joke. The point was to tell the young conservative group that they were in the right state if they get stuck saying, “But the good news is, “Roy added, “if they do so while you’re here — since each and every one of you are freedom lovers– you’ll get stuck in Texas. You get to stay here instead of having to use a vaccine passport.” Roy was using a common point of discussion and contention to simply make a group of young adults feel welcomed to Texas.

4. The spin here is that “Amid confusion over mask mandates, booster shots, and new guidance for those vaccinated… Republicans have thrown fuel on the fire.” The argument is that since there is already a debate going on about a number of covid issues, the Republicans are bad guys to add anything else to the discussion. Of course, what is true is at issue, not whether or not it adds fuel to the fire. 

5. The spin here is that Roy’s ‘fuel on the fire’ is an opinion about an implication, but without evidence. CNN says, “But Roy’s comments implied that Biden was working on a way to limit someone’s ability to freely move around the US and CNN has seen no evidence to back up that assertion.” When you take an implication and argue against it, you are inventing a straw man. For example, one could say, “Biden’s support of New York City implies he is for ‘passports’, therefore Biden is lying when he says he is not for them.”

6. The spin here is that Chip Roy’s entrance into the debate is a new development and Roy is an addon contributor to the discussion. CNN said, “Last week the Republican National Committee falsely claimed the Surgeon General recommended people wear masks while at home with their kids. Now, Rep. Chip Roy from Texas is claiming that President Joe Biden is working to institute a vaccine passport across the country.” First, there is a guilt-by-association spin; Republicans where wrong last week about one thing, so a Republican is wrong this week about another thing. Second, there is not a “Now, Rep. Chip Roy…”, but an ongoing debate. In fact, Roy is a co-sponsor of the April 2021 No Vaccine Passport Act (Biggs) https://biggs.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-biggs-introduces-no-vaccine-passport-act 

7. The spin here is that Biden supports New York City’s vaccination requirement (functional localized passport) while denying working on a federally mandated vaccine passport. Asking a discrepancy question exposes this, “Mr. President, given that you support New York City’s requirement of proof of vaccination, why are you not working on a federally mandated vaccine passport?

Of course, the vaccine passport discussion has been in the air for some time, and will continue. US News said Biden was working on a vaccine passport initiative back in March of 2021.

Chip Roy made a claim as the setup to a joke. CNN spun it as misleading and without evidence, proved by the White House denial.

4 Twisters


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